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Herb of the month: Nana

My Magazine 2022/08
1 min
Nana is a word from the Arabic language, which also in The Gambia means mint. Nana or mint is a milder version of peppermint and beloved addition to attaya. You can find it in the market throughout the year in small bundles costing 5 or 10 dalasis.

Even outside main markets, you will regularly see ladies or kids walking around with a large silver tray on their heads, selling bundles of nana sprinkled with water to keep them fresh.

Mint is one of the world-famous ingredients for tea since it helps to make your respiratory paths open because of its decongestant properties. But in The Gambia, not many drink mint tea; they use mint as an addition to attaya or sometimes even in the morning cup of black tea. Some ladies use it as an ingredient for street-sold pancakes.

Chewing mint leaves can improve teeth and gum health and keep your breath fresh. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Nevertheless, in The Gambia, many instead go for mint candies, which can be bought for 1 dalasi in the local shop and are used to freshen up breath, especially after a spicy meal.

You can find many products with menthol in The Gambia, but mint itself has more or less a single purpose. We suggest trying mint-infused water with some slices of cucumbers to have a refreshing drink or sprinkle its chopped leaves on your salad for a minty twist.

Mint is known to relieve stomach pain or digestion problems apart from being a common cold relief medicine. According to some, it can even be used as an insect repellent.

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